Is it just me or is everyone angry? Controversy is on every corner. People are out of work and scared. Business is slow. The news is a constant hum of discontent. It seems even the news broadcasters have an edge to their voice. Even business owners are snappy with customers. Everyone has their own solution. Nobody agrees. Probably the debates tonight will be a good example of that.
But yesterday I turned onto Victory Street. It's a short cut-through street that was taking me to my destination. I guess I had never paid much attention to the street name, but yesterday I could not help but wonder if anyone else was driving down Victory Street. Who was feeling good about their day? Who was making a change for the good in lives of others? Who was being kind? Thoughtful? Considerate? And as I walked into the well-ordered elementary school, I was welcomed into a beautiful setting of peace and calm. The secretary was cheerful and interested. The principal made time for a chat. Teachers stopped by to say hello. Children were active and busy with learning. Victory Street.
I left there refreshed and encouraged by an environment that had been created by willing and skilled staff members. But I knew that kind of environment doesn't just happen. It takes discipline, creativity, long hours of work and a passion to make something special happen. It also takes a willingness to just work in the background of life, quietly going about doing a job with skill and confidence. It is what Brian Williams calls "Making a Difference." the short, final segment of his airtime - a wise choice to make us all feel better about something at the end of the day.
Yesterday I read "The beginning of all reform must be in yourselves. However restricted your circumstances, however little you may be able to remedy your affairs, you can always turn to yourselves, and seeing something not in order there, seek to right that." But who wants to look within when it is so much easier to look out and blame someone else? Who really wants to pause long enough to seriously consider their own state of affairs? Isn't it easier to fix someone else? And who really wants to change anyway?
Living on Victory Street comes at a price. The price of work and sacrifice and self-control. Victory comes after the pause, after seeing something not in order and admitting it and then starting the long journey of change. Victory comes when we seek to right the wrong in ourselves first. And victory comes when we can find gratitude even in the smallest of things. If Victory is a street we long for, then Gratitude must be the sidewalk alongside.
"Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory."
George S. Patton